Alexander Twilight: First African-American To Earn A Degree From American University

2 Posted by - February 20, 2023 - Black History, BLACK POLITICS, LATEST POSTS

Alexander Lucius Twilight was an American minister, educator, and politician who dedicated his life as a Congregational preacher and loyally worked in the education and ministry throughout his career. Born on September 23, 1795, in Corinth, Vermont, Twilight grew up with six of his brothers and sisters raised by their parents Ichabod and Mary Twilight. The Twilight family was among the very few African-Americans living in the particular area. According to the information on Old Stone House Museum’s website, Ichabod Twilight served in the U.S. Revolutionary War at that time.

Alexander Twilight was in the habit of working on a nearby farm at a very young age and learned some basic knowledge about arithmetic along with reading and writing. In 1815, when he turned 20, Twilight got admission in the Middlebury College, just 20 miles away from Randolph and started his formal education. After surviving two years, he made a long history and became the first African-American to graduate and hold a degree from an American College.

After the completion of his degree, Twilight got an amazing opportunity and started teaching in Peru, New York, which is a small community located right in the northeastern part of the state. He kept in that position for quite a long time and at the same time married Mercy Ladd Merrill to begin a happy family. Twilight was a person who was not only inclined towards professional education but had the urge to study his religion and got credentials to start and work as a preacher.

After a while and taking time from his personal life, he returned to his hometown and tended congregation located in Brownington and Vergennes. In the year 1829, he got the opportunity to become the principal of the Orleans County Grammar School in Brownington and also helped the school to build new premises of granite. The new school building served classrooms and dormitory.

Being a pioneer in politics of Vermont, Twilight made a great history once again and became the first African-American to win the elections and serve in the public office. He continued his valued work as being an educationist and preacher until the late 1840s. But unfortunately, he went into conflicts with both the church and school that led his to resign from both the positions. Later, he joined the school once again but his falling health placed him on death bed, and he left the world on June 19, 1857, in Brownington.


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